If you’ve got a little free time over the long weekend, you might want to browse the initial offerings of the Sunlight Academy, a project of the Sunlight Foundation offering online training in tracking various kinds of government data.
If you’re not familiar with the Sunlight Fhoundation, you really should be. They are now a key player in the ongoing effort to make government more transparent and accountable.
Here’s what they say about Sunshine Academy:
Get ready to sharpen your figurative pencils and sign up for Sunlight Academy, our new interactive training portal that provides instructional and educational resources to make government more transparent and accountable. So whether you are an investigative journalist trying to get insight on a complex data set, an activist uncovering the hidden influence behind your issue or a congressional staffer in need of mastering legislative data, our transparency training program will teach you how to better connect the dots and make our tools and resources work for you.
There are training modules available in several areas–Tools for tracking government data; data analysis, including data visualization, mapping, and pivot tables; Tracking lobbyist registration and campaign contributions; advanced Google searching; using Data.gov.
I’ve just started working through some of the modules. So far, I’ve found some valuable tips. This is definitely worth the time and effort.